Turlock City Council approved a $32.4 million general fund budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Councilmembers approved the budget on a 4-1 vote, with Councilmember Amy Bublak casting the lone dissenting vote.
The 2014-15 budget, which is up nearly $2 million from last year’s $30.5 million general fund budget, will be spent largely on public safety, said Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden. It includes roughly $1 million in deficit spending, primarily due to one-time equipment replament costs.
The most controversial part of the general fund budget is the inclusion of a matching fund that will allocate general fund dollars to road repairs.
The Turlock City Council set aside $50,000 in matching funds for road maintenance, roughly equal to the City of Turlock’s contribution toward a half-cent sales tax, if it were an average Turlock household. This move marks the first time in decades that the City of Turlock has spent general fund dollars on road maintenance.
Bublak, who voted against the budget, has long voiced dissent to the half-cent sales tax that will go toward roads, which will be on the Nov. 4 ballot. Bublak said the budget should not allocate general fund dollars toward roads until voters decide if they want the road tax or not.
“Roadways are important, but you’re sending a message,” said Bublak. “We’re going to take money out of it (general fund) and we’re going to put it in here (road maintenance). But at the same time, public, why don’t you vote for a roadway tax? The message is kind of murky.”
Councilmember Steven Nascimento said it was time for the City of Turlock to spend some of its own money on the roads.
“I think if we’re asking the residents to put some skin in the game, I think it’s important we put some skin in the game,” said Nascimento.
The approved budget also includes a projected budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The 2015-16 budget, however, was not adopted with the approval of the 2014-15 budget.
To view the approved budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, visit http://ci.turlock.ca.us/,